Have Trouble Connecting With The Kids After School?
I know we’re always hearing parents joke about how glad they are to “send the kids back” when school starts. And while we homeschool now, I was once a public-school parent, so I’ve totally been there. Some days I want to send the kids back to public school; trust me! But I’ve also been in the position of missing my littles while they’re at school all day and struggling to connect with them in the limited time we had together after school each day. So I thought I’d gather up some simple ways to connect with kids after school – from last week’s Kids Co-Op Link Party – for my mama friends who have to be away from their kids all day. Let’s check ’em out…
14 Simple Ways to Connect with Kids After School
- Get Kids Involved in Routines & Chores – If you instill good routines for getting chores and homework done from the get-go, you’ll have more time to connect after they’re done. And most kids love feeling important and working on chores along-side mom or dad. Check out how JDaniel4’s Mom set up her after school and bedtime chore charts here (and print your own, too!).
- Play Outside – After spending most of their day in a school, the kids could really use some nature! It doesn’t have to take much time; set up a relay race or try one of these simple outdoor games from Jen’s RAQ.
- Ride Bikes – Take a bike ride around the neighborhood. Or surprise the kids by mowing a bike track in the backyard like Life With Moore Babies did.
- Take a Walk – Go for a calming walk with the kids. It would be a great time to talk about their day. Or make it a Listening Walk with this idea from Fantastic Fun and Learning.
- Go On a Hike -If you have a little more time, take a longer hike in nature. Check out Adventure in a Box’s post about hiking with children.
- Play Playdough – I don’t know any kid – young or old – who wouldn’t at least squish it a little if playdough were waiting for them when they got home from school. But make sure to sit down and play, too, Mama! Try this recipe for Marshmallow Playdough from My Big Fat Happy Life.
- Have a Tea Party – Okay – so this one would probably be for the littles, but how excited would they be if you turned after school snack into a fun tea party?! Check out MakingMamaMagic’s Pretend Play Tea Party for inspiration.
- Play a Game – I know games can be time consuming, but this doesn’t have to be very night. Think about making a certain night of the week a family game night. You could play an education game – like one of these counting games from Buggy and Buddy – or your kids’ favorite board game.
- Try Some Sensory Play – Sensory play is calming to some kids (especially my kids with SPD) after an over-stimulating day of school. If you sit nearby – or play, too! – it could be a perfect time to chat with your little about her day. Try one of these sensory play ideas that were shared last week: Junk Yard Sensory Bin, Sand & Rock Box, or Glittery Calm Down Bottles.
- Listen to Them Read – Do they have reading homework? Take advantage of little moments like this to be attentive and listen to their reading. If they’re just beginning their reading adventures, check out these recommendations for emergent readers from Sunshine & Hurricanes and easy reader books from What Do We Do All Day?.
- Read TO Them – I don’t mean just homework reading; I mean snuggling up on the couch with a fun children’s book or chapter book. Trust me, even big kids love being read to. Sunlit Pages shares 3 favorite children’s books here or check out these rhyming books for the littler ones.
- Cook or Pack Lunches With Them – Don’t have much time aside from your own chores? Then get the kids involved in helping you! Give them specific jobs to help cook dinner or pack their own lunches for the next day.
- Snuggle & Make Shadow Puppets – Don’t forget that (finally!) calm moment when you’re tucking your kiddo in at night. Take a minute to snuggle, hug, and maybe make some shadow puppets while you’re at it! Or try this more structured shadow sensory play if you have time to calm them before bed.
- JUST BE THERE – Even if you can only manage a small amount of time, make sure to carve out some undivided attention for your child. It doesn’t even have to be one of the above activities, but could be meeting them right where they are, doing right what they are doing at that moment. Just BE with them and follow their lead.
Did ya check ‘em out? Which would work best for you and your kids after school? Would you add anything to the list? Share in the comments below!